I really enjoy spending time with kids because they are so smart and so aware of the world around them. They generally are not judgmental (yet) and often so willing to try new things.
The 5th Grade Class at Lakewood Catholic Academy (LCA) in Lakewood, Ohio is one such group.
As a service project, they participated in our second annual Silence for Speech campaign to help recognize the desperate need so many have for speech therapy services, as well as to understand what it is like to live a day in the life of a person with a speech or hearing impairment.
If you’re not familiar, the goal is to be verbally silent for 12 hours during the campaign weekend. You can write, use hand signals, but cannot speak words aloud. Many adults participated as well, including one speech therapist, who was our top fundraiser!
I’ve participated for two years now, and have to admit that staying silent is really difficult. Even with preparation, it is easy to forget, and it is so easy to become frustrated. But the experience truly is an eye opener. I have learned so much about myself and about communication.
These students from LCA said it the best though, so I am going to use their words which are much more effective than mine could ever be.
It was really hard because me and my sister had to do chores because we had people coming over. Trying to act out what I wanted to say was really hard. I feel empathy for people who don’t have a choice because communicating was really hard.
It was very hard. My family kept getting annoyed. But on the plus side I got really good at charades. Doing this helped me understand my grandpa’s daily experience. Now I know how to proxy for him better. I also feel closer to him now. I feel really sad for everyone with speech impairments who can’t afford therapy. It was also hard being around someone who couldn’t talk. I went over Andrew’s house when he was doing the challenge and it was hard trying to guess what he was saying.
Being silent was very hard and now I know how hard it is to stay silent. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to stay silent for my whole life. I learned that we need to help and respect people who can’t talk. Some people don’t know the challenge that people who can’t talk have to face every single day.
Thank you to the entire 5th grade class and their amazing teachers for participating again this year. If you would like to join the Silence for Speech challenge next year, please sign up for our newsletter here.